What style of drawing can I enter?

There is no restriction on the style of drawing, in fact we encourage experimentation and creativity. Here are some possible styles of drawing to consider:

  • traditional realism
  • contemporary realism
  • academic
  • abstract
  • illustration
  • sketchbook
  • conceptual
  • rough sketch or study
  • ...anything else!

In other words, if it's a drawing using the competition theme, you can enter it.

We will not consider anything containing gratuitous violence or pornography, however. Let's keep this classy!

And it should go without saying that copying someone else's artwork or photography is prohibited. Original artwork only please -- of course you can use your own photos for reference if needed.

What are the prizes?

Elizabeth R. Whelan, who is hosting the competition, is pleased to offer $1,500 in cash awards this year.

4 Jurors Prizes are also awarded - these are items of appreciation and change each year.

1st Place $700
2nd Place $500
3rd Place $300

Prizes and awards will be announced October 5, 2021 by email, and posted on the Martha’s Vineyard Drawing Prize website.


The finalists’ work will be displayed on the Martha’s Vineyard Drawing Prize website for one year, including biographic information and links to their websites/social media.

What drawing media can I use? Is digital drawing allowed? What about colored pencils?

Drawing media such as pencils, graphite, charcoal, pen & ink, Conte crayon, silverpoint, colored pencil are the approved media for this competition. Colored chalk and pastel can be used, if the style is drawing, and not painting. Please see the judging criteria here in the FAQ's to see if your work will be appropriate.

We are not including digital art at this time. It's a great medium, but there already exist a number of digital art contests and the Martha's Vineyard Drawing Prize hopes to encourage artists to use traditional tools to create excellent drawings the way humans have done for thousands of years.

Here's a complete list of approved media:

  • Pencil - graphite, ebony
  • Charcoal - black, white
  • Conte crayon - black, raw umber, terra cotta, sanguine, and white
  • Silverpoint
  • Pen & Ink - black, brown, white, blue
  • colored pencils
  • colored chalk and pastel

To understand how the artwork will be judged, please see the FAQ 'What is the judging criteria'?

If you are not sure whether your drawing material qualifies, feel free to contact the Martha's Vineyard Drawing Prize staff via our Contact Us page.

Does my drawing have to be done on paper or board?

Although past competitions have specified paper or board for the drawings, this rule has been changed, and we will be happy to see your drawing on whatever substrate you prefer to use.

If you are not sure whether your drawing material is suitable, feel free to contact the Martha's Vineyard Drawing Prize staff via our Contact Us page.

Do I need to frame and ship my drawing?

No, there is no need to frame and ship your drawing. This is an online exhibition, and the finalists and competition winners will all be displayed on this website for a year. All you need to do is take a good photograph of your drawing before you enter the competition, so that the jurors can see the details clearly.

This will make it a lot easier for you to enter the competition, and will keep your costs down. So consider entering more than one drawing! You can enter up to 3 drawings for the $10 entry fee.

What will be the judging criteria?

The jurors will be looking at each piece, no matter the media, for the following criteria:

Creativity:

  • How did the artist interpret the theme?

Skill & Technique:

  • Did the artist handle their medium in a way that indicates a level of drawing excellence?

Overall impression of the artwork:

  • Does it stand on its own as a complete and outstanding drawing?

Each juror brings to the judging their own experience and thoughts about art, which is why 3 jurors representing different aspects of the art world are chosen, and the jurors change each year. All decisions by the jurors are final.

Who will be the Martha's Vineyard Drawing Prize jurors?

Each year we select one collector, one gallery director, and one artist to be the jurors. Each of these representatives of the art world bring different view points to the judging. (We will announce the judges close to the deadline of the competition.)

The jurors will not be engaging in communication about the art submissions before/during/after the judging, and their decisions are final.

Elizabeth Whelan does not judge the drawings herself, however she will be overseeing the process.

Can I enter an older drawing, or does it need to be new?

If you have created the drawing in the past 2 years and you feel it is compatible with the theme, by all means enter it.

However, we encourage you to create new art for this competition to expand your creative horizons working specifically to a theme. As you can submit up to 3 drawings for the one entry fee, you have an opportunity to experiment and try some new ideas in addition to entering your existing drawings.

How will I know if my work won a prize or award?

All entrants will be notified of the final decisions via email on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, to the email address that you used when you registered your work. If you have not received a notification please check your spam filter.

The finalists and award winners will also be announced on this website the same day.

How does the Call for Entry website work?

If you are new to the Call for Entry (CaFE) website, click here for their ARTIST SIGN UP and register on the site. This is free.

When your drawing images are ready, upload your image(s) of your drawing(s) to an online portfolio in your ARTIST account -- this is also free. There are size requirements for the digital images:

  • File Type: JPEG or JPG only
  • File Dimensions: 1,200 pixels or greater on the longest side
  • File Size: Under 5 MB

After you have uploaded your images, navigate to the Martha's Vineyard Drawing Prize call, click on the green APPLY NOW button and follow the instructions.

You will be asked for an Artist's Statement: Tell us about your drawings, how they relate to the theme, and a little about yourself. (You will have a 1000 character limit, so Elizabeth suggests writing that up before you start the application process, so that your screen doesn't time out! Speaking from experience....)

You will pay a $10 entry fee for this call--and can select up to 3 images from the portfolio you created.

That's it! We will contact you to let you know your art was received, and the finalists and awards will be announced Tuesday, October 5, 2021.

(By the way, there are other interesting Calls for Artists on the Call For Entry website! Click this link to see the entire list, which updates as calls come and go. There are competitions, grants, residencies, etc. Once you have images uploaded to your portfolio, you can enter them in other appropriate calls. Some have fees, some do not, so read the guidelines for each call in which you are interested.)